With the number of coronavirus cases and game postponements climbing, the NHL is reintroducing enhanced COVID-19 protocols that include restricting players to staying in their hotels while on the road in a bid to limit a growing outbreak among players and staff.
The enhanced protocols will be put into effect immediately and last through at least Jan. 7, a person with direct knowledge of discussions between the NHL and NHL Players' Association told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were private.
Daily testing will also return for players and coaches as part of the decision, which was reached after two days of meetings and worsening conditions across the league on Wednesday as players and staff from three more teams were added to the league's COVID-19 protocol list.
That included 17 members of the Calgary Flames, who also had a fourth game postponed (Saturday's home matchup against Columbus).
Coach Darryl Sutter and two assistants were on the list along with players including Rasmus Andersson, Johnny Gaudreau and others, raising the number of Calgary players in the protocol to 16.
The league said Calgary's “return to game play is being delayed at least through Saturday” following discussions among medical experts.
Calgary's training facilities were closed to players until further notice.
Four teams - Calgary, Carolina, Ottawa and the New York Islanders - have had outbreaks force game postponements, a total of 10 in all. But alongside that is a growing number of affected players, who under typical COVID-19 guidance would be tested at least every 72 hours if vaccinnated.